Changes made at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill following an athletics scandal involving agents and athletes appear to be paying off.
The North Carolina Secretary of State’s office is investigating an agent who attempted to contact a member of UNC’s football team without going through the proper channels.
According to court documents, agent Brandon Smart sent offensive lineman R.J. Prince a message on Facebook in November saying he wanted to talk with him about the NFL Draft process and get Prince’s phone number.
Prince reported the contact to the UNC Department of Athletics, which then informed the Secretary of State’s Office.
According to an investigator, it’s not the first time the school has warned Smart, who is not registered as an agent in North Carolina.
Smart allegedly attempted to contact an athlete in July 2015, and school officials spoke to him again in April 2017.
In both instances, Smart attempted to reach out to an athlete without first contacting UNC.
The university formed its “Agent and Advisor Program” following an athletic scandal that started in 2010 after some football players accepted gifts, trips and money in violation of the NCAA’s rule on amateurism.
During the years of investigation, four players – Marvin Austin, Robert Quinn, Greg Little and Michael McAdoo – were dismissed from the team, the coach was fired, the director of athletics retired and the university paid a price – a $50,000 fine, a postseason ban for the football team and the forfeiture of all 16 wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
The athletics scandal also proved to be the tip of iceberg in terms of the NCAA’s investigation of UNC, which culminated last fall when the NCAA said it “could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules” in years of offering classes that students did not have to attend.
The NCAA found, as UNC had argued, that the classes benefited all students, not primarily student-athletes.